Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A new stamp

For a new month. Welcome October, with love from Croatia. I've been traveling now since 5 August, that's almost two months, and I've had some great adventures. Today was one out of the bag; a wander around Verona, a drive to Croatia through Slovenia and a wander and lovely meal in Rijeka. The meal took a while to find, most of the places were on to dessert with lots of cakes and hot chocolates, while we just wanted something savory and a wine. Asking the locals is really the best way and luckily, as our host shared, most speak English.

Di and I got a surprise at the border to Croatia. There was a border post, we had to stop at the barrier. At first I thought it was another toll booth, but no the unsmiling man wanted my passport. I was hot so had taken off my jumper and was only wearing a singlet, more under than over wear. My jeans were undone and almost fell down as I exited the car to find my passport which was in the boot (trunk) of the car. We'd been driving for a while, the barrier and border guards were somehow unexpected.

I smiled in my New Zealand way, he didn't smile back. He muttered as he looked through my passport, back to me, then thumped a stamp on it and sent me to the next window. The lady there looked too then waved us on, phew. It was a little scary, a little worrying, thank goodness I didn't offer him money as I would at a toll booth! We actually gained money at one toll booth, someone forgot 5 euros of their change. A small windfall that helped with the 17 euros at the next one.

The drive from Verona was uneventful, Italy hasn't been a difficult place to drive so far. The towns were okay to navigate once the satnav was charged again and the highways are just like highways in other places. In Solvenia the scenery changed as we climbed through the foothills, through little towns on a narrowish two way road. The view in places was amazing, over the trees to the sea beyond. Being stuck behind a slow moving truck had it's bonuses, although some who were frustrated passed in a way I wouldn't have. Dropping into Rijeka was a treat too, a wonderful view looking to the south west along the Istrian peninsular. Worthy of a drive in the next couple of days.

Croatia has been part of the EU since July so a very recent addition. I swapped some money into Kuna and it seems to go a long way. Tomorrow it's a wander with the cameras to the waterfront and up the 500 steps to Trsat where there is much to see as well as a fantastic view according to our host Samanta. Samanta was a wonderful person to meet after a long day, cheerful and informative and a talented artist. Her work in in the apartment, I would like one of the pieces to be in mine. The apartment is great, another Airbnb success. It has two bedrooms, all that's needed to be very comfortable and is only a short walk to the sights of the old town and beyond.

Every piazza needs a lion, Verona

The shot I went back for, Verona

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